Happy Birthday Mom! Wow, what a year- huh? I really feel like this is a year in the Heppes Chapter that has been marked by signs of growth. Each of your 5 children have seem to taken steps cementing their life in the future. The moments lay behind us – big, small and at various times – but each of us truly show signs of actually being adults. The initial reaction this ignites is “congratulations”…. if there was a parent manual (which I am starting to think there isn’t one), this would be the point where you would sit back and observe your hard work. You would let out a huge sigh, cheers Dad and ride off into the sunset…. except that is not how any of it really happened at all.
One area of our lives that you and I really do differ is in the love of pictures. If I could hire a photographer to capture life I would do it in a heartbeat. It would be my greatest wish for someone to freeze these moments in time. I know that pictures aren’t really your thing (a side note to congratulate Juice Plus – they have helped you face that fear in a big way), but it is true, I would want to find a way to snap every look on our faces as we all hurt, help, heal, heck even fight…. because in those moments – each look, each embrace there would be such a powerful telling of our story. And you know what the neatest part of all of those pictures would be…. even in the worst circumstances every single person in your family would shows signs of relief when you appear in the frame.
This year alone -your baby has looked with tears streaming down her face as she read why she has loved being our Bobo for her whole life. My sister opened her door in the middle of the night grateful that you could help comfort her new little girl. My brother, the most worldly of us all, needed to know your opinion on his career choice, because your job had been centered for 20+ years on managing chaos, so you must know the answer. You welcomed home one son who originally came to reset his world and has ended up being the thread we needed so badly to be your right hand in keeping life at home going amongst a lot of changes. These are all experiences that really signify that we may be leading our own lives – but we have never ever needed you more. The only silver lining, I think we all have also been more willing to listen and learn. That is a job well done… but also a job far from over.
Oh and me – Mom, you are helping me to keep my life going. The last month has been the absolute hardest of my life, period. I actually had to prepare to imagine saying good bye to my dreams as they rolled in a wheelchair down a hall and I couldn’t follow. There are nothing short of a million moments in those days that you and Dad saved me – from my worst fears, from my most horrific emotions, and from complete and utter giving up for good. When I can collect myself, I plan to capture all of those….but as I thought of your birthday message there is actually a bigger message I needed to say than just the last 30 days.
For 11 years I have been asked the question “why” I think no shortage of a 100 times – Why would you choose this life? Why would you be with someone who is sick already? What are you going to do if he dies? What if your a widow at 30? What if you never have your own family? And when things have gone horribly wrong, I am consistently asked – why do you stay? For me the questions ignite a lot of different thoughts – but the biggest one has always been – is it weird that none of these reasons have ever stopped me? None of those questions ever scared me enough because I have never doubted my love for Danny and my belief in what that power holds. And that right there is what I have to say to you on your birthday – Mom, that ability to really love and believe is because of you.
You have taught me, if you are right then be confident. If you believe, then believe with all you have. And if you do this, do it well. Those lessons have given me courage to keep going when I really don’t know that I can. Your words have guarded my heart, as I have had to navigate pain and fears but protect my life. And probably the greatest gift of all – you have given me permission to go ahead and enjoy the life I have chosen. You are always the first to say there are two ways to look at the glass: half full or half empty….. you have already chosen it, so why not let it be half full.
As a mom, you have given us everything you have and the blessings are hard to choose from – faith, support, guidance, time, laughter, confidence….. but for this season of life nothing has meant more than the importance of just being positive. At the end of the day what is going to happen is going to happen – so best to be positive. That has saved me years of heartache and pain from listening to the outside world that will never understand my choices….. while also giving me the freedom to enjoy. This year I turned to you and said “most marriages don’t survive this surgery and healing process” and you said to me “you aren’t most people”…… I am not sure I would have ever believed it without you saying it.
Thank you Mom for all you do and I hope you have some of your own freedom to enjoy…. even with all of us still lurking around.
We love you.